Midwives in Wales are to stage an eight-hour walkout on the same day that thousands of nurses are also due to go on strike, it has been announced.
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said that its members in Wales – including midwives and maternity support workers – are to walk out from 8am to 4pm on February 7 in a row over pay.
During industrial action, midwives will provide “bank holiday cover” to ensure women in labour or those in need of emergency care still get the support they need, the union said.
They will also be taking industrial action short of a strike by claiming payment for any overtime worked in the week following strike action, it added.
The action will coincide with strikes due to be staged by members of the Royal College of Nursing, who are due to walk out on February 6 and 7.
Twelve organisations in Wales will see nurses walk out alongside colleagues at 73 organisations in England.
The RCM said that it, along with other health unions, is in discussions with the Welsh Government – but as yet has not received an offer that would halt any industrial action.
Julie Richards, the RCM’s director for Wales, said: “There is a growing crisis in Welsh maternity services.
“We are losing midwives because they simply cannot sustain the incredible effort they are having to make to ensure services are safe.
“They have also seen a decade and more of pay freezes and pay stagnation watching their pay packets significantly shrink with real terms pay cuts.
“To offer them a pay deal well below half of the rate of inflation is simply an insult that does a massive disservice to our maternity staff.
“Our members have made the decision to take industrial action after a great deal of thought and very reluctantly because their first concern is for the women, babies, and families they care for.
“However, they have been corralled into a dead end by Government and see no other option than take a stand for what they know is right for them, and most importantly for women.
“Midwives and maternity support workers, along with their maternity colleagues are keeping maternity services afloat, but they can no longer bear that load.
“They are working long hours, often beyond those they are paid for and they are exhausted, fragile and simply at the limits of their endurance.
“This cannot go on because if it does, we will continue to lose staff the service can ill afford to.
“Now is the time for the Welsh Government to act on their concerns and to reward these dedicated public servants with a decent pay deal, and tackle the serious problems facing Welsh maternity care.”